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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Canton, OH
    Posts
    57

    Default How to fix this foundation problem?

    I started two packages two weeks ago on medium frames with Duragilt foundation. The bees have not accepted this foundation despite my spraying it liberally with sugar syrup when I installed it. Instead, they have built combs in the space between two sheets of foundation, attached to the top bar of one of the frames. Fortunately they have not attached it to two frames at a time, and I can still pull the frames out.

    Yesterday I inspected one of my hives, and as I was leaning a frame against the hive with one hand to take a picture of it with the other, the comb on the back side of the frame (this frame had two combs - one attached to the top bar on either side, with an untouched piece of Duragilt in between) fell out and landed on top of the other frames in the box. I picked it up and put it back into the frame, wrapped it all with some wire I had in the shed, and put the frame back in.

    Here's a picture of that frame (well, part of it. I was taking a picture of the larvae):



    There are actually bees behind that wax, between the comb and the foundation. The bees are doing their thing - laying eggs, raising brood, etc., but I need to get this problem fixed. I am puzzled about what to do. Should I take out all the wax and rubber band it into foundationless frames like a cutout? At that point, should I even bother with foundation at all? Now that I've seen what natural comb looks like, with the cell bottoms as thin as they are, I find it hard to believe that foundation really saves the bees much time and food building comb - there's just not that much wax at the bottom of a cell.

    I am pretty frustrated. I know the bees will do their thing but I feel like if I don't so something soon this situation will become unmanageable. Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    Cut off the comb that is between. Cut out the duragilt. Throw away the duragilt. Tie the comb into the frame with rubber bands or string.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,320

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    I'm wondering how you have your frames arranged in the box. When you installed the package, did you push all the frames tightly together and center them in the box? Or did you arrange them in some other way?

    I recommend you do what Michael Bush has described, it will not become more manageable, otherwise.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Canton, OH
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    No I have them pushed together. Here is a picture from the other hive, taken right when I opened it up, three days after the package installation. This one is an 8-frame but is the same design, and it's having the same problem:


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    If only you had used foundation... oh, I guess you did...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,825

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If only you had used foundation... oh, I guess you did...
    You can't put a known problematic foundation like Duragilt in the same bag with plain wax foundation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    I'm not sure, but would it help to paint it with more wax? Would get the bees to accept it?

    I don't think the foundation is there to help the bees save time as much as to help them to build more uniform cells and keep it straight for the beekeeper so we can remove it as needed. It's also so we can try to control the size of the cell. It is also to give the wax strength for us to be able to remove the honey with an extractor easier. Foundation is basically for us, not the bees.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    >I'm not sure, but would it help to paint it with more wax? Would get the bees to accept it?

    DuraGilt and DuraComb are a smooth sheet of plastic with beeswax on it that has been embossed. It is already nothing but beeswax as far as what the bees have access to unless they chew it off. If they DO chew it off, they never replace it as they would for the typical plastic foundation. I have seen it treated like the picture on occasion but all in all it is better accepted than the typical plastic foundation but not as well as solid wax. It is also a mess once they chew off the wax. I have always assumed the acceptance issues must be related to offgassing since the bees have access to the wax. But then again when they build real comb without foundation, they thin the bottom walls to a very flexible and transparent thickness and working from both sides push it into the shape they want. The plastic core, I'm sure, interferes with this process even if it is coated completely with wax.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    309

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    I have never used full sheets of foundation. I came by a free box of duragilt shallow foundation a few years ago in a teacup auction and i have been cutting short strips of it for starter strips. it seems to work well for this. the bees draw on it nicely and continue it out on the rest of the naked foudationless top bar.

    After reading this i wonder if the reason it was donated to the teacup auction was because of something like the above situation... lol
    anyhow if you dont want to throw it out youcould use it for starter strips

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    >if you dont want to throw it out youcould use it for starter strips

    I haven't tried DuraComb/DuraGilt for starters. The bar plastic on the bottom would worry me as they often seem to want to take the wax off...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,320

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    And too, they don't seem to have any trouble using a beveled wooden edge as a comb guide. It seems that anything between the comb and comb guide would introduce a weakness that doesn't need to be there.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Canton, OH
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: How to fix this foundation problem?

    I put together some new frames, this time with the wedge stapled in sideways as a comb guide, and ran wire through the holes. Next time I'm in the hive, I'm going to take out the comb that's there, rubber band it into empty frames, and replace the rest of the Duragilt frames with these. If the bees will be happy without foundation in the brood nest, then that's good enough for me.

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